A Mom's mission to ditch the gluten and sugar, cook real food that her husband and toddler will eat, yet sustains her intense running and yoga program, all while attempting to maintain her sanity!

Back to School Reading List

Posted on September 2, 2013

Here is a list of terrific books by four of America's foremost food thinkers originally compiled by the Environemental Working Groups President, Ken Cook. Here's to good reading and healthy eating!


The Perfect Marriage - Yoga and Running

Posted on August 28, 2013

The Perfect Marriage – Running & Yoga 

At a race the other night, I was sharing with a friend that running is my passion. It is just in me, I run in snowstorms, I run pregnant, I run in stifling heat and humidity, I run in my sleep. But YOGA is truly what I crave. While running will always be my first love, yoga is what helps me maintain my physical and mental strength. 

So how did my love for running morph into a love for yoga? Well, after ten years of pounding the pavement, my body was feeling the adverse effects of running’s repetitive, high-impact motion. My muscles and joints ached and I was starting to get minor injuries. The backs of my legs were so tight that I could hardly reach my knees when I folded forward. Trying to avoid disaster, I turned to yoga to loosen up my muscles. What I received from a regular yoga practice, however, not only improved my flexibility, it increased my overall athletic performance, and made me more vital in ALL aspects of life. 

Yoga offers runners a number of benefits. Whether you are a diehard ultra-marathoner, a beginner doing a couch to 5K program, or a recreational runner never looking to race, yoga can help you:

Friday Night Dinner Idea - Veggie Pizza

Posted on August 1, 2013

Looking for something healthy to make for dinner tonight? 


We tend to think of pizza as junk food. But when made with this homemade crust and topped with veggies and low-fat cheese, pizza quickly becomes a healthy meatless, weeknight family favorite. In my family, every Friday night is pizza night and after you taste this version you will know why! 


Nonstick spray

2 1/2 cups grated cauliflower (about 1/2 a large head)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Fresh basil leaves, optional


The Upside of Running Hills

Posted on July 8, 2013

Most runners detest hills and avoid them at all costs. I love them and believe that when used correctly, hills can be the secret weapon to becoming a stronger, faster, more confident runner.

When running cross-country at Middlebury College, every Tuesday afternoon my coach would have the team run hills repeats up the backside of the Green Mountains. The “hill” workout was always one of the hardest but also the most beneficial. While perhaps, running up and down a mountain several times a week is not on your list of future workouts, here are my top five reasons why running short hill repeats near your house should be. Hill running….


Strengthens Essential Running Muscles:

In general, hill running does a better job of building up the muscles in your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes than running on flat ground AND has the added benefit of strengthening your hip flexors and Achilles tendons. Additionally, running uphill forces you to drive your arms harder than usual, so you'll improve your upper body strength and form.


Improves Endurance and Speed:

Does Your Diet Need an Oil Change?

Posted on June 20, 2013

The world of fats can be a confusing one. First experts tell us that fat is bad for us, then they say it is good for us, even identifying certain varieties such as olive oil, the omega’s and most recently coconut oil as healthy super foods. Yet in the same breath, we are told only to consume high quality, extra virgin olive oil but to never cook it on high heat as it breaks down into carcinogens (what is called the smoke point), and that we should only eat the omega oils (3-6-9) in a the appropriate ratio mainly focusing on omega 3s. It seems the more you read on the topic the more of a mystery it becomes. Filled with monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids, moderate amounts of cooking oils are essential to good health. Here are my top picks of oils, how they benefit your health, and how best to use them.  

A Guide to Healthy Grilling

Posted on June 20, 2013

Today marks both the beginning of summer, and grilling season. Long days and warm weather inspire us to enjoy cooking and eating outside. Nothing beats the distinctive smoky flavor of grilling. However, the standard buns, sugary sauces, poor quality meats, and mayo-drenched side dishes that are so often the focus of backyard barbeques are not the healthiest options. Grilling can be a delicious and super fast cooking technique perfect for any healthy lifestyle. So fire up your grill and learn how to prepare foods that are flavorful and good for you!

1) Is it Dinner or Dessert? – Barbecue sauce gets its tantalizing kick from sugar. Just two tablespoons of barbecue sauce has 100 calories, and more than 3 teaspoons of sugar (Note: the American Heart Associations recommends that women eat no more than 6 tsp. of sugar per day and men 9 tsp.). Instead, try flavoring your meats with steak house favorite Chimichurri Sauce

Mom to Marathon: One Moms Story of Reclaiming her Health through Running

Posted on May 15, 2013

On June 22 2012, Lauren Havens took the first steps to reclaiming her health. A former water polo coach, and Tao Bo instructor working with the likes of Billy Blanks, life as a mother to a special needs child, and a career of advocacy for cerebral palsy had left her overweight, sluggish, and unhealthy. She had become a mere shadow of her active former self. With her 50th birthday just around the corner, Lauren took up running and started watching what she ate, focusing on real, whole foods. In a matter of months, she lost 40 lbs., breezed through a few 5 and 10K’s, and put her sights on running a half-marathon. With her can-do-attitude and dedicated training through a frigid New England winter, Lauren completed the Diva Half-Marathon in Myrtle Beach, Virginia on April 28th, just shy of her one-year anniversary to running. Now a dedicated runner, Lauren feels more energetic, fit, and motivated then ever, and has begun training for her first marathon – the original marathon in Greece.

Having had the privilege to coach Lauren throughout much of this process, it has been inspirational for me to watch her set goals, crush them so quickly, and move onto something bigger and better without hesitation. What she has accomplished in a year is incredible, and with her signature courage, heart, stamina and dedication, I can only imagine what the future holds for her....

Become a Faster, Stronger Runner

Posted on April 12, 2013

Monday, April 15th is the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. In New England, "Marathon Monday" is the unofficial start of spring or what I like to call the “running season.” Inspired by the marathoners’ perseverance and dedication, runners of all types come out from hibernation and flock to streets. Many of these seasonal runners may even be inspired to sign up for a race of their own and begin training immediately. But what these runners don’t realize is that any effective training program for runners MUST include proper nutrition too.  

As we run more, and perhaps start training for races, it becomes increasingly important to fuel the body with the proper foods. While you may have been able to eat anything before you started running, now that you are pushing your body in new ways and demanding it to perform for you this is no longer the case. What you put into your body is equally, if not more, important as how you train it.  Here are some tips to get you started on the nutritional portion of your 2013 training season. 

Carb Loading

Calling all Busy Moms - Help is Here!!!!

Posted on March 28, 2013

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Kitchen Tools

 Often I get asked how I manage to prepare home-cooked meals for my family every day of the week, especially with a toddler running circles around me. To this, I reply, I make it a priority! Restaurants, prepared foods, and certainly packaged foods do not provide the quality that I demand for my family. And if I do find quality food, they are not only expensive but loaded with excess fat, sugar, salt, and other chemical additives, which science is proving to be more catastrophic on our health every day.  So I have no other choice…

However, I do not pretend to do it all alone. I would never tackle cooking this way with out these five time saving, budget-friendly tools. 

Crock Pot

Looking for ways to cut out sugar without going cold turkey?

Posted on March 25, 2013

Does every meal have to end with a sweet? Do sugar cravings control your life? Do you live off of sweets and soda?  

There are plenty of healthy sugar alternatives that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth without the negative consequences. Try adding berries and honey to plain yogurt or roast carrots and onions in the oven with olive oil and salt for a sweet accompaniment to your favorite meal.  For more recipe ideas that help reduce sugar craving like this one for Sweet Potato Fries go to Lauren Leonard Health.

If you want to learn more about kicking your sugar cravings the natural way, check out my two talks this week. For more information or register on-line go to Spring Detox: Sugar Blues Workshops, e-mail me directly at or visit "Sugar Detox" on Facebook. 


Sweet Potato Fries
Yields 4-5 side servings